Concussion Management – Guidance & Procedure

Australian Rugby provides guidance regarding concussion which applies to everyone involved in Rugby across Australia.

At all times, players, parents, coaches and officials need to act in the best interest of player safety and welfare by;

i. taking responsibility for the recognition, removal and referral of players to a medical doctor 

ii. ensuring concussion is appropriately managed per the Australian Rugby Concussion Procedure.

The Australian Rugby Safety Policy states that “The primary consideration in all participation decisions must be the safety of all participants as a requirement that overrides all others.”

People involved in Rugby must familiarise themselves with the following documentation for the management of concussion: 

Following the October 2016 Berlin Concussion in Sport Conference and the imminent release of the final recommendations Australian Rugby has made some changes to the above documentation. We will be also providing some additional information and resources for medical doctors in the next few weeks. 

The below checklists have been produced to assist stakeholders with concussion management

The following two Australian Rugby power point resources provide additional information on Concussion Management applicable to all stakeholders. The former looks at what is concussion, signs and symptoms, Australian Rugby procedure and documentation, roles and responsibilities, as well as a variety of reference material and resources. The latter includes Rugby scenario examples where you are asked to determine if the player showed sign and symptoms of concussion and what action is required. They both include video footage, have been compressed for accessibility and will take a minute or two to download.

Australian Rugby Concussion Management - Guidance & Procedure (80 MB)

Australian Rugby Concussion Management - Guidance & Procedure Scenarios (421 MB)

All players with potential head injury or concussion must be referred to a medical doctor or emergency department as soon as practical (within 72 hours of the injury). 

If there are serious concerns about the player or red flags then the player must be referred to an Emergency Department as soon as possible or call an ambulance.

The Australian Rugby Head Injury Form and Australian Rugby Concussion Referral and Return Form must be given to the player or family member/guardian.

The Australian Rugby Head Injury Form provides information on concussion including signs and symptoms of concussion and management processes (i.e. what to do and what not to do). It also includes information on red flags, which may indicate a more serious injury requiring immediate attention.

The Australian Rugby Concussion Referral and Return Form comprises of three sections which must be completed;

1. signs and symptoms noted by first-aider, referee, coach, manager, players or medical professional at the time of injury

2. information for acknowledgement of the initial consultation with the medical doctor;

3. final clearance from the medical doctor to return to full-contact training.

The player must provide a completed Australian Rugby Concussion Referral & Return form to their team manager for presentation/submission to the competition manager prior to returning to full-contact training and/or match play.

Concussion Awareness and Management trial – Blue Card

The Blue Card is an awareness tool to ensure player safety and welfare is at the forefront of our game. It enhances the ability of referees to intervene in the management of a player if they suspect a concussion may have occurred – though the use of the Blue Card system.

The Blue Card trial is taking place in Newcastle/Hunter and ACT Senior and Junior Club Rugby competitions in 2017. 

Australian Rugby is also extending the Blue Card trial to all National Championships/Tournaments in 2017, commencing with the Australian Schools Rugby Union (ASRU) Championship in July.

Blue Card Concussion Initiative Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional information & references

World Rugby Concussion app – available for Apple and Android devices this is an easy-to-use tool for players, coaches, doctors, match officials, parents and fans to educate themselves about concussion.

World Rugby

Australian Institute of Sport